Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:07pm

Gary Becker

Question A: Employers that discriminate in hiring will be at a competitive disadvantage, if their customers do not care about their mix of employees, compared with firms that do not discriminate.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question B: Rising market wages are an important reason — over and above any changes in medical technology, social norms or preferences — why family sizes have fallen over the past century in rich countries.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question A Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Agree 6
The only caveat is that if other employees have a taste for discrimination, they may take costly actions against the hiring of minorities.
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Strongly Agree 9
Discriminating firms pay higher wages and draw from a smaller labor pool, raising labor costs. See Becker, The Economics of Discrimination
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Uncertain 3
This outcome requires more than a lack of concern by customers.
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 6
I believe it in theory but I'm aware of no direct evidence after all these years.
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Disagree 6
Unless there are workers who will prefer to be at a firm that is dominated by their ethnic group
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Agree 8
Though, as a number of authors have shown, prejudice can indeed survive in the labor market in the long run.
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Currie Janet Currie Princeton Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Disagree 8
It depends on who they discriminate against. The disadvantage could be de minimus. Or, it could be an advantage in some cases.
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Agree 1
One can think of special circumstances where this conclusion, due to passing on best workers, does not follow, but they're not general.
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford Uncertain 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Uncertain 1
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Agree 3
Depends on some subtle issues. Discrimination may results mainly in segregation under some conditions.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Agree 8
They would earm more if they did not discriminate unless their other workers are prejudiced. But they may survive anyway if they earn rents.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Uncertain 7
One can imagine cases where employees care and discriminate. It could (unfortunately) benefit the firm, since customers don't care.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Strongly Agree 9
You want to employ the best workers to maximize profits.
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Agree 5 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Agree 5
Presumably yes if discrimination lowers wages of the discriminated group to levels below what equally productive workers make.
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Obstfeld Maurice Obstfeld Berkeley Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Agree 9
It is an empirical question whether this disadvantage will overcome taste for discrimination, and whether markets will eliminate such firms.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Strongly Agree 8
This disadvantage will be smaller if workers are also prejudiced.
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Uncertain 5
Seems to depend on the circumstances. For example, the preferences of the incumbent workforce would seem to matter to the employer.
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Stokey Nancy Stokey Chicago Strongly Agree 10
See The Economics of Discrimination; Gary S. Becker; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957.
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Agree 5
But only suffer if there are enough non-discriminating firms.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         

Question B Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Uncertain 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Agree 8
I would have emhasized rising women's employment opportunities
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Currie Janet Currie Princeton Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Strongly Agree 8
So says the literature in economic history.
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford Uncertain 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Uncertain 5
Probably, but not clear how much is causal.
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Agree 8
turns out that it takes a lot of time to raise a kid these days
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Uncertain 3
Certainly this is not a theorem--it depends on preferences and technology-- income versus substitution effects.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Uncertain 5
Ths substitution effect goes this way, but the income effect can go in the opposite direction: with more income you can afford more children
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford No Opinion
This is an ill-posed question as I told the organizers. No good economist should answer it. Should have been in productivity not wages.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Uncertain 5
We do not have strong evidence on this. Rising FEMALE wages matter. Also rising costs of education, housing.
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Agree 3 Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Uncertain 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Obstfeld Maurice Obstfeld Berkeley Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Strongly Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Uncertain 5
I get the theory, but I don't know how one can support a judgment about importance.
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Uncertain 2
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Stokey Nancy Stokey Chicago Strongly Agree 10
See "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children." Gary S. Becker and H. Gregg Lewis; JPE, 1973, 81.
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Uncertain 1
Might be U shaped
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         

10 New Economic Experts join the IGM Panel


For the past two years, our expert panelists have been informing the public about the extent to which economists agree or disagree on important public policy issues. This week, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding the IGM Economic Experts Panel to add ten new distinguished economists. Like our other experts, these new panelists have impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters, and their names will be familiar to other economists and the media.

To give the public a broad sense of their views on policy issues, each new expert has responded to a selection of 16 statements that our panel had previously addressed. We chose these 16 statements, which cover a wide range of important policy areas, because the original panelists' responses to them were analyzed in a paper comparing the views of our economic experts with those of the American public. You can find that paper, by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, here. The paper, along with other analyses of the experts' views, was discussed during the American Economic Association annual meetings, and the video can be found here.

The new panelists' responses to these statements can be seen on their individual voting history pages. Our ten new economic experts are:

Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton)
Liran Einav (Stanford)
Amy Finkelstein (MIT)
Oliver Hart (Harvard)
Hilary Hoynes (Berkeley)
Steven N. Kaplan (Chicago)
Larry Samuelson (Yale)
Carl Shapiro (Berkeley)
Robert Shimer (Chicago)


Please note that, for the 16 previous topics on which these new panelists have voted, we left the charts showing the distribution of responses unchanged. Those charts reflect the responses that our original panelists gave at the time, and we have not altered them to reflect the views of the new experts.

We have also taken this opportunity to ask our original panelists whether they would vote differently on any of the statements we have asked about in the past. Several experts chose to highlight statements to which they would currently respond differently. In such cases, you will see this "revote" below the panelist's original vote. We think you will enjoy seeing examples of statements on which some experts have reconsidered.

As with the 16 previous statements voted on by new panelists, these "revote" responses are not reflected in the chart that we display showing the distribution of views for that topic: all the charts for previous questions reflect the distribution of views that the experts expressed when the statement was originally posed.

About the IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

Finally, it is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist is an expert on a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's expertise that he or she feels unqualified to vote. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

The Economic Experts Panel questions are emailed individually to the members of the panel, and each responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering.

Members of the public are free to suggest questions (see link below), and the panelists suggest many themselves. Members of the IGM faculty are responsible for deciding the final version of each week’s question. We usually send a draft of the question to the panel in advance, and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. In response, we typically receive a handful of suggested clarifications from individual experts. This process helps us to spot inconsistencies, and to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

The panel data are copyrighted by the Initiative on Global Markets and are being analyzed for an article to appear in a leading peer-reviewed journal.

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